18 years since becoming the associate member of the ICC and four T20 world cups later (which Nepal did not participate), Nepal has taken a significant step in World Cricket. Qualifying for the first time in any world team event, Nepali Cricket team created a sporting history. With memorable wins against the likes of Kenya and UAE, who have been a force to reckon with in associate cricketing world. Nepal confirmed their place for the T20 World cup scheduled to be held in Bangladesh on March 2014. Here they will be competing for the coveted T20 World Cup, with the eyes of the world on them. Whilst doing so Nepal also secured a 3rd place finish in the tournament only behind Afghanistan and Ireland – who both are powerhouses of associate cricket.
In a country amidst turmoil and political uncertainty, Nepali Cricket brought about immense joy and excitement to the public. And with that it brings about more public expectations for Nepalese cricket to shine again and again. This bunch of 20 players, the coaching staff and everybody involved in it have been able to unite the nation in the past few days where everything else seems to have failed. And now, the public expectation is for Nepali Cricket to do well and keep on bringing moments such as this. Also, the common voiced opinion of the entire nation is for the politicians and law makers to come together and emulate what the cricketing fraternity has achieved- “bring peace, prosperity and joy to the nation and work as team.”
As the joy and excitement settles down and the dust clears, the challenges in store for Nepali Cricket surfaces. The challenges are both on and off field. Just the other day I was reading an article where our national players are committed to various off-field duties in the armed police force and other governmental organizations. And how their pay is minimal, despite which they still continue to work and play cricket. Cricket alone has been unable to provide a salary fitted enough for the players for a decent livelihood so they have to indulge in other works. The article also mentioned how these players were unable to attend a job promotion training session because they had cricketing duties. And so they were denied of promotion in their respective jobs. And these very players would later go on to represent Nepali Cricket in the UAE where they would go on to make history- by qualifying for the T20 world cup. You have to credit the sheer determination and dedication these boys have for Nepali Cricket. One of the legends of World Cricket in his retirement speech quoted “I believe we have been the lucky ones to be chosen by the Almighty to serve this sport. Each generation gets this opportunity to take care of this sport and serve it to the best of our ability. I have full faith in you to continue to serve the nation in the right spirit and to the best of your ability, to bring all the laurels to the country. All the very best.” Yes, this message was passed by Sachin Tendulkar to the Indian camp but this is an inspiration for every sportsperson. And our boys have been serving the game and nation and hopefully will bring many more laurels to the nation. Our captain shedding tears in a public function was no premeditated effort to cry, it was a spontaneous oozing out of feelings. Those choking words of our captain spoke volumes not just of the cricket fraternity but the entire nation- “Enough of the naming and blaming, let work as a team and serve the nation”
Cricket Association of Nepal also has a humongous task ahead of promoting, developing the game and the players. Qualifying for the world cup of the shorter format of the game is a step forward. The expectation of the Nepali public is now for Nepali cricket to step forward – into ODI World cup and even Test Cricket. This task is by no means easy but our cricketing fraternity is hungry for success, hungry to represent the nation and bring joyous moments to the nation. CAN and the Sporting Council should be able to facilitate the game for the dreams to materialize into reality. As, of where we stand now I personally cannot see our players getting complacent. The coaching staffs deserve a huge round acclamation for bringing the best out of the players with the limited resources. For installing belief like our captain said “that it is possible to achieve anything.” In all of this one cannot overlook the contribution set by the predecessors of Nepali Cricket, those who set a foundation for Nepali cricket to reach where we are today. The former players and staffs can be proud that they represented “The Rhinos”
The world cup in Bangladesh is a start beyond this there is qualifying for the ODI world cup in New Zealand. And who knows what will happen then. For now the Nepali team has deserved their share of accolades but as an adherent cricket fan I and the entire nation would love to see the Nepali team do well in New Zealand. Irrespective of what the team does there, The Rhinos have earned a place in our hearts.
“Nepali Cricket team in all whites stroll out to a packed stadium in TU cricket ground, the atmosphere is buzzing, the sound is deafening – Test Cricket has arrived in Nepal” – Next for Nepali Cricket? WE CAN.